Two years ago this month, a new organization – the Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition – launched what was then billed as “the industry’s first-ever digital theatrical delivery service.” With the launch, DCDC began servicing its founding companies by transporting feature films and other content via satellite across the United States. That DCDC was not the first to do this was beside the point. DCDC had the backing and the blessing of those founding members: Warner Bros. Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark Theatres and AMC Theatres. Today, DCDC has a virtual lock on its market, but questions remain regarding its long-range potential.
The Big Picture
Last Friday, September 25th, digital cinema history was made and the course of cinema advertising and marketing changed forever, with the release of a 60-second commercial promoting the United Nations’ Global Goals initiative. The upbeat ad, titled #WeHaveAPlan, was animated by Aardman Animations, directed by Sir John Hegarty and narrated by Liam Neeson and Michelle Rodriguez with music from Peter Gabriel. The ad was mixed in Dolby 5.1 and Dolby Atmos immersive sound technology, and mastered and distributed to more than 30 countries in all cinema formats by Unique Digital. It was the first global cinema ad ever distributed and was done on behalf of SAWA the Global Cinema Advertising Association. In the U.S the ad will run on the networks of Cinema Advertising Council members National CineMedia, Screenvision and Spotlight Cinema. The ad premiered in New York’s 42nd Street AMC Empire prior to its worldwide exhibition and will continue running around the world for a year.
Let’s be clear about one thing: there is no such thing as alternative content. People do not leave the comfort of their homes to pay twenty dollars and more to sit in a movie theatre to watch something inferior or alternative. They gladly pay higher ticket prices because they enjoy events targeted at their specific interests. For big screens, great sound and comfortable reclining seats in a room with like-minded people. For the shared experiences of opera, theatre, concerts, sports, and more: a wide and growing range of programs. These aren’t alternatives to anything; these are events that, until only recently, people could never see this way. And let’s be clear about one more thing: Netflix will play a major roll in the future of event cinema.
Screenvision has announced an innovative interactive advertising campaign that puts the spotlight on Volvo. This first-of-its-kind 90-second advertisement allows moviegoers to directly interact with the content on the big screen by using movement, and is now available in 100 Screenvision theatres.
Arclight Films says pre-sales for the theatrical release of Lost in the Pacific, the first Chinese 3D Sci-Fi action adventure film in English, are strong and is speculating that it could very well be the first Chinese independent Sci-Fi film to receive a same-day release worldwide.
Esteban Sune is the fourth generation of his Argentinian family in the exhibition business. His great grandfather opened the family’s first theatre in 1910 to show silent films. Some eighty years later, the theater concept changed from the big single screen houses to multiplexes and Cinemacenter was born. Sune, the company’s managing director, recently installed his country’s first laser projector – an NEC NC1100L. I spoke with him about that experience and about the exhibition business in general.
One of Hollywood’s most gifted action directors, Antoine Fuqua explores the rarified violence of the boxing ring in his latest film Southpaw, released this month by The Weinstein Company. The director’s visceral boxing imagery is supported by a meticulously crafted soundtrack, created by a team from Sony Pictures Post Production Services led by supervising sound editor Mandell Winter, sound designer David Esparza and re-recording mixers Steve Pederson and Daniel J. Leahy.
HBO has acquired U.S. rights to Very Semi-Serious: A Partially Thorough Portrait of New Yorker Cartoonists, directed by Leah Wolchok and produced by Davina Pardo. An offbeat meditation on humor, art and the genius of the single panel, the feature-length documentary debuts December 7 exclusively on HBO, following a limited theatrical run November 20 through December 3 in New York at Lincoln Plaza, in San Francisco at the Roxie Theater, and in Los Angeles.
Preparation for post-production deliverables is often an overwhelming and tedious experience and producer/director Zatella Beatty’s feature length documentary about basketball star Allen Iverson’s rise to fame in the sports world was certainly no exception. Meeting Showtime’s tight deadline on delivery of Iverson wasn’t going to be easy.
Many documentary filmmakers turn to fundraising to finance their films. But not every filmmaker turns to fundraising to support the work of her subject. Producer/director Beth Murphy is using her film, What Tomorrow Brings, about visionary Razia Jan to help raise funds for what will be the first women’s college in rural Afghanistan.